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tv   Newsline  PBS  August 27, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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hello and welcome to "newsline." it's wednesday, august 28th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. u.s. leaders and their allies are gearing up for possible military action against syria. they believe syrian forces were responsible for a chemical weapons attack last week on
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opposition neighborhoods. some u.s. media report they could launch a strike within days. opposition activists say last wednesday, government forces used poison gas in an attack on the suburbs of damascus. they say hundreds of people were killed. senior u.s. officials told nbc news that they could launch missile strikes against syria as early as thursday. sources say they're planning three days of strikes. but they say they don't want to topple syrian president bashar al assad, or cripple his military. rather, they say, they want to send assad a message. the white house press secretary says president barack obama is still considering his options. jay carney says the president has not made his decision. >> the president continues to work with his national security team, reviewing the options available to him. and when he has made a decision and has an announcement to make, he'll make it. so that process continues.
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>> carney said there should be no doubt that the syrian regime is responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the attack. he said u.s. analysts have determined that the assad regime has maintained control of its stockpile throughout the conflict. he said intelligence officials will release the results of their investigation into chemical weapons within a week. french president francois somewhat holland says there is a responsibility to protect civilians and his says country is prepared to take action. >> translator: the chemical massacre of damascus cannot go without a response. and france is ready to punish those who took the vile decision to gas innocent people. >> hollande says voices loyal to assad were behind the chemical attack. he said the french will increase their military support to the syrian opposition. united nations inspectors
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are still on the ground in syria, investigating whether chemical weapons were used. but they say they've postponed their work for security reasons. the inspectors set out for the sites on monday, but snipers attacked their convoy. no one was hurt. they're calling on all parties to cooperate and to allow then to conduct their inspections safely. the investigators are analyzing blood samples from patients, and soil taken from the sites of the attacks. they tried to determine only whether chemical weapons were used, not who might have used them. syrian's foreign minister has asked for evidence that syrian forces were behind the attack. walid al malum. a russian spokesman is accusing u.s. leaders of making up reasons to launch an attack. he says the u.s. and other western countries should act responsibly and observe international law.
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>> translator: the attempts to get around the security council and once again create artificial, unsubstantiated pretext for the armed interference in the region may result in new sufferings in syria. >> he says the decision to postpone a meeting with russia was regrettable. diplomats were due to discuss the alleged use of chemical weapons. time now for the latest in business news. investors are spooked. they're uneasy with the idea that western countries could launch strikes against syria. ai joins us from the business desk. what's the latest? >> investors really on edge, catherine. we saw stocks tumble left and right, markets pummeled 2% in each. as for wall street, the dow jones industrial average closed out 14,776, which is down 1.1%, and the nasdaq closed out 3,578,
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down more than 2%. well, let's see how japanese stock markets are reacting. we head over to ramin mellegard for that over at the tokyo stock exchange. ramin, how are stocks at the open? >> more of the same negative reaction right here, ai. let's go straight to the opening levels for august 28th. you can see exactly what i'm talking about, down over 2%, 2.37% for the nikkei. 13,220 and over 2% for the top ix, as well, weighed down by the political risks. investors shifting money into what they consider safe haven assets, such as u.s. bonds and yen. and the stronger japanese currency is pushing stoke ostocks lower. oil prices also rising. traders fear a possible intervention in syria could cause further instability in the middle east, and possibly disrupt the flow of oil from the region. crude oil futures in new york rose almost 3% to the $109 levels. as you can see on the screen,
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that's the highest since february, 2012. now gold futures also risen to their highest levels in more than three months, rising 2%. so i'll be tracking key sectors in export and commodity-related shares. now, on tuesday, the nikkei's index with oil sector fell 0.7%. now also in the domestic front, one area that we really can't ignore is also the monthly sales report for japanese automakers for july, which is due out later today. toyota, honda, nissan and many others. that's going to be a big focus domestically, as well. ai. >> and ramin, you mentioned the fall on the dollar. so where do we stand this wednesday morning in tokyo trading? >> yeah, again, more volatility in the currency markets. we definitely have seen that for dollar yen coming up right now. you look at that. 97.04 to 06. it was trading in the 98 yen levels only recently. dollar has taken a hit, largely on the geopolitical risks in syria. and actually, u.s. consumer
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confidence for july rose and home prices also showed a modest rise in the u.s. investors really seem to be focusing more on the situation in syria right now. euro yen coming up right now, 129.89 to 99. euro has fallen back a touch against the yen compared to 132 yen levels on monday. now key eurozone unemployment as well as inflation data on friday remain the focus for the single currency. but again, as i said, a negative start for the nikkei and the topix, based a lot on the geopolitical risk event, and we're seeing across global stock markets. we'll see how it continues but over a 300 point loss for the nikkei in the first three minutes of trading. >> thanks for that update. ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. imported wheat is getting more expensive. japanese government officials say a weaker yen is pushing up prices. agriculture ministry officials
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bring in about 90% of the wheat consumed in japan. and they revised prices for domestic millers in april and october every year. they make the changes based on international market trends. the officials say they'll raise the average sales price of five brands of foreign wheat by 4.1% in yen terms. that includes products from the u.s. and australia, which will cost about $590 per ton. this marks the third straight price increase since october last year. and a combined rise of over 17% during this period. but it's not just the weaker yen that's affecting the cost of wheat imports. lower output in australia is another contributing factor. ministry officials say they'll keep an eye on how and if the higher costs will make bread and other food items more expensive. more in business next hour. i'll leave you with a check on markets.
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workers at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant have discovered they have a bigger cleanup effort on their hands following a leak of highly radioactive water. they found out last week that the toxic water had seeped out of a storage tank, one of hundreds on site. now they have learned it may have flowed in two directions. last monday, crews found more
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than 300 tons of highly radioactive wastewater that leaked from the tank. the water escaped a low barrier through a valve used to drain rain water. workers detected high levels of radiation inside a nearby ditch. now officials with tokyo electric power company say inspectors observed high levels near a valve on the other side of the tank. the officials fear contaminated water may have flowed out of there too. and they worry the runoff may have seeped into the ground. so they have decided to remove soil from a wider area than they had planned. they still don't know what caused the leak, or how far the contamination spread. they suspect some of the water may have flowed into the ocean through the drainage ditch. tepco officials have hinted that it will take weeks to find out why radioactive wastewater leaked from the tank. tepco executives presented a plan to investigate the incident to the nuclear regulation authority. they said possible causes of the leak include loose joints,
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deteriorated parts and corrosion at the bottom or sides of the tank. the officials said radiation levels in the tank are high. they plan to remove radioactive materials in the coming week so that investigators can go inside. the nuclear regulators told tepco to speed up its investigation. they also said measures must be taken for about 300 tanks of the same type, if necessary. officials at japan's nuclear watchdog are determined to make safety standards in their industry more stringent. they say they'll force power companies to regularly test nuclear plants for resistance to earthquakes and tsunami. the officials at the nuclear regulation authority agreed to make the checks a legal requirement. they'll oblige utilities to conduct so-called stress tests, using computer analysis every five years. plant operators will also have to calculate the probability of severe accidents, such as the one at fukushima daiichi in 2011. the regulator plans to introduce
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a range of new safety measures by december, after consulting the public. japanese aerospace officials say a computer glitch may be to blame for the scrubbed launch of a new rocket. they had hoped to fire off the epsilon on tuesday. but it never left the launch pad. the epsilon is the first domestically developed rocket in 12 years. engineers with the japan aerospace exploration agency plan to launch it from the uchinoda space center in western japan. the countdown timer ticked down, then stopped with just 19 seconds to go. a sensor detected the epsilon was not in the correct position. mechanics checked the rocket, but they didn't find anything wrong with its posture, or with the sensor that alerted them to the trouble. they believe the malfunction occurred in a computer system at the control center. technicians developed the system to enable the rocket to automatically detect any
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irregularities before liftoff. agency officials hope to identify the cause of the trouble, and set a new date for a launch. they say that could happen within two days at the earliest. chinese leaders are looking to set their economic agenda for the next several years. members of the ruling communist party have scheduled a policy meeting to discuss deepening reforms. the state-run "xinhua news agency" reports that the more than 300 members of the powerful central committee will meet in november. president show jing ping and other party lead verse grown concerned about, and they could use a meeting to discuss approaches to more stable growth. they could also revisit their crackdown on corruption. they responded to concerns among members of the public that senior officials were abusing their power. party leaders have gone after bureaucrats and business leaders, too. and they're expected to reiterate that they're committed to cleaning things up. well, a dispute over the
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senkaku islands in the east china sea has prompted japan coast guard commanders to strengthen their ranks. they plan to add more than 520 personnel as early as next year. that would be the largest adegs in four decades. chinese government vessels have entered japanese waters on a regular basis since japan nationalized three of the islands last september. their presence is expected to grow, because china is building more ships. japanese leaders say the islands are an inherent part of their territory in terms of history, and international law. coast guard authorities plan to put a team of 12 ships in charge of patrolling around the territory in the future. they still need to build six of those vessels. the team would likely be based on ishigaki island in okinawa. the coast guard is expected to request about $2 billion from the government to fund the surveillance program. japanese researchers are
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looking back into history. they have arrived in north korea to search for the remains of japanese who died at the end of world war ii. north korean leaders have shown openness toward the mission, but some diplomats are wary of the north's motives. nhk world's hiroki yashy ma reports from poyongyanpyongyang >> reporter: researchers are in the clear to inspect sites. >> translator: we have come here to identify the sites where the japanese were buried. and we want to share the information with north korean officials who are conducting research on what they think are japanese remains they have found here. >> reporter: from 1910 to 1945. officials of the country's health ministry say 5,000
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japanese died there of hunger or illness at the end of the war. the remains of 20,000 are buried at about 70 sites. but for decades, a lack of diplomatic relations prevented members of their families from visiting. then, japanese and diplomats got together for the first time in four years. >> translator: both sides have agreed to seek a meeting with higher-level officials in beijing as soon as possible. >> reporter: north korean workers have been digging at the sites. they have found the remains of japanese, fragments of clothing and personal items. authorities have allowed about 30 japanese to watch. they include researchers and victims' families.
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but the two sides have not agreed on dna testing. so the only way to identify the remains is to match survivors' accounts with what north korean officials say. north korean leaders have suggested the opening talks with diplomats from japan, south korea and the u.s. they say they are open to a range of topics, including humanitarian issues, such as access to the burial sites. but diplomats are suspicious. the north koreans say japan must provide compensation for its colonial rule. and they may be granting concessions during financial assistance for their fragile economy. nhk world, pyongyang. generations of children have grown up with a book about a
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japanese girl named noriko. the book was first published in sweden more than 50 years ago. it went on to be published in more than ten countries. one reader was so touched by noriko's story, she traveled to japan to find her. nhk world followed her search. >> reporter: noriko, the girl from japan, portraits of a real life japanese girl in the 1950s. >> why does noriko sleep lying on the floor? because japanese people sleep this way. the adults and the children too. >> reporter: eva, a girl from sweden, visits noriko and learns about the customs and culture of japan. the book has been a good friend to one reader in israel. for nearly half a century. film the film director was 4
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when she first read the story. >> we didn't have television in israel until 1968. and this book -- those books were like our television. we can see children, people in other places. >> reporter: she says she has found that children are still fascinated by noriko. one girl asked her, what is noriko doing now? this inspired her to try to find noriko. she searched japan in august. she was accompanied by eva, now a doctor in sweden. she found eva by placing an advertisement in the newspaper. >> i want to meet her, and i want to talk to her. how was it? how was your life?
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>> reporter: she spoke to the press and asked for help. >> i'm in japan to find noriko. >> reporter: one lead came from a biography of a swedish woman, who had been in contact with noriko's family. the book gave an address in tokyo. they walked around the area. but the names of the streets have changed. and the residents could offer no help. then, the swedish embassy in tokyo received a phone call. >> you are smiling. >> so we are going to meet noriko tomorrow. >> reporter: the call was from noriko. she had learned of the quest and reached out. they met at the embassy. the reunion came after almost six decades.
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noriko declined to be interviewed, but passed on a message. >> translator: i'm surprised and deli the book about eva and me still is so loved. i'm truly h >> when something is so important to you, so effective on you as a child, so you will do everything to find it back. >> reporter: she aims to make a documentary film about her search for noriko. she hopes it will convey the importance of treasuring the wonders of childhood. nhk world, tel aviv. two of the world's most renown universities have set up a joint college in the teachers at yale and u.s. college hope to combine the
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educational strengths of the west and asia. yale university has produced five u.s. presidents. the national university of singapore is one of asia's leading educational institutions. ♪ yale nus college held an inauguration ceremony tuesday. the singaporean government provided funds to build the campus and is shouldering the personnel costs. the four-year college adopts the yale system of cross-disciplinary education. each class will have a maximum of 18 students. the pirating group of 155 students was selected from more than 10,000 applicants. 60% of the students are from singapore. the rest are from the u.s., india, china and other countries. >> i just want to embrace all possibilities. because this school is offering us amazing opportunities for us to learn and to explore. >> this is something completely
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pioneering, something really new. and unlike anything else in the world. i think i want to understand where i fit in a global scale as well as how my sort of cultural conditioning has led to where i am today. >> some u.s. and european universities have established campuses in asia, but it's rare for western and asian universities to jointly set up a college. there's a storm making its way towards parts of southern japan and taiwan. we learn more in world weather. >> it looks like taiwan will get very stormy starting this afternoon. a severe tropical storm is now located over the waters between taiwan and the philippines, and moving towards the north at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour. here is the projected path. it looks like it's going to brush through tie warninaiwan a typhoon and then approach the western southern islands of japan or main land japan and
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south korea on the weekend. now heavy rain of about 250 millimeters likely for parts of taiwan. not good news of this area still dealing with the aftermath of a tropical storm, last week's storm. the ground is saturated. and also, this area is a mountainous area, so landslides and mudslides are going to be very high risk here. waves as high as seven meters anywhere in the center of the storm system. and as for the philippines, with the departing system, rain will ease across the north, but it's not the case across the northwest, including manila. other disturbances enhancing, so heavy rain will continue throughout the day. up towards the north, a strong low is dropping heavy rain for northeastern china. the system is expected to reach the korean peninsula as we look ahead to thursday. temperatures are soaring into the mid 30s in tokyo, with plenty of sunshine. but humidity is going to be quite low, about 35%.
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so we wouldn't feel oppressively hot today. and across batur, 12 degrees for you. and in north america, a heat dome is blanketing the central and eastern parts of the u.s., and the hot air is meeting up with cooler air across the area from the dakotas into the ohio river valley, producing a risk of a severe weather. large hail and damaging winds are going to be the primary let's. and as across the west, spreading rains across the southwest. some rain is putting out wildfires, so that's good news. rain is not going to fall across the northwest, where fires are still growing. very hot conditions across the mid section of the u.s. and canada once again. 37 degrees in omaha, and 34 in denver with high humidity, you feel much, much hotter than these actual numbers. and finally in europe, days of dry weather has resulted in wildfires in parts. take a look at this video.
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about 1,000 firefighters were trying to put out 15 major wildfires in portugal. the country has extremely hot weather and strong night winds. this fire lasted 48 hours. more than 40,000 hectares burned down this month. now, the bad news is that rain is not going to fall across portugal today. but rain is going to be found across the southern parts of the peninsula. more heavy rain across the central and southern parts of europe. thunderstorms and even the risk of hail across this area, and even tornadoes cannot be ruled out this area. peaceful weather across the north, and temperatures are going to be pleasant in many locations, but the exception is going to be athens at 38 degrees for you on wednesday. here's the extended forecast.
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locations, but the exception is
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that wraps up this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks very much for joining us.
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>> the u.s. military is ready to go if the president orders a strike on syria. good evening i'm judy woodruff. >> i'm gwen ifill. and the newshour tonight as the obama administration gathers international support for military action, it says the goal of any response will not be regime change. margaret warner has the latest on options for action in syria. then we return to the march on washington 50 years on. tonight reflections from

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